LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One year ago, our world was rocked here at THV11. Our colleague, Matt Turner, who'd been with us only six weeks died in a fiery car crash on Interstate 30.
He has been deeply missed not only by his THV11 family, but by his wife, his daughter, his mother and so many others in Arkansas. For this first time, his widow Julee Turner sat down with Dawn Scott and shared her deeply personal journey through the grief of losing her beloved husband.
"I miss my friend," she said. "And I miss Preslee's dad. I miss that he didn't get to truly fulfill that role."
These days you'll find Julee Turner side-by-side with her daughter, Preslee Bell.
"She really has saved me. She's saved everybody. She's our sunshine. She's our blessing from God. We are so thankful for her," Julee said.
One year ago, Julee got the call that forever changed her life. On October 6, her husband Matt had not been feeling well but planned to drive to Arkadelphia, where Julee and Preslee were to spend the weekend with family. He never made it. His Chevy Tahoe hit an I-30 guardrail, and he died instantly.
"He was here one day, talked to him an hour before and then gone," Julee recalled. "Getting a phone call like that, saying he'd been in a car accident. There's no way to prepare yourself for it, no way you even know how you're gonna deal with it.
The Turners had only been living in Little Rock for six weeks, still unpacking boxes and looking forward to their future.
"I miss most, his hugs. He was just a hugger; I miss those. He was so thrilled to get to come to Channel 11. Everyday, I thank God he got to do his dream job. That's what he wanted to do--come to Little Rock, and he got to do it. It was six weeks, but he got to do it," Matt's mother, Lisa Rogers, reflected.
Rogers is also grieving and said it's been the toughest year of her life. Despite their grief, Preslee keeps both Julee and Lisa going, and they said Matt lives on through her.
"He had a smirk. She does it all the time. I say 'Little Matt Turner!' All the time because especially when she was a lot younger, she favored him so much," Julee added.
"I was dryin' her hair one night and I had déjà vu," Rogers said. "It was like Matt's little head, same shape as Matt's head, same color hair he had as a baby."
Now, Preslee only knows her daddy through photos and stories.
"You say, 'Where is Dada?' and she points up, and 'Who's he with?' She says 'God,'" said Julee. "I still grieve. I'm still in the middle of a grieving process, but she is so important to me, I do not want her to know any different than I was this mom who loved her and only wanted what was best for her. That's what Matt would've wanted. He wouldn't want me to be this sad girl you know."